Van Persie and his Manchester United side travel to the Bernabeu on Wednesday for the first leg of their last-16 tie against the La Liga champions. The striker has been in superb touch since making the $37.6 million move from Arsenal last summer, with 22 goals in 28 games for the Reds this season.
However, Van Persie insists it’s in the big games where he really wants to prove his worth and he’s counting the days until he squares off with Cristiano Ronaldo and Co.
“The match against Madrid is the icing on the cake for every footballer,” the 29-year-old said. “It will be my first game at the Bernabeu, and I’m really looking forward to it. It will be a very nice challenge with the group of players we have.
“Manchester United are a big club and being in the last 16 is beautiful even without the prospect of playing Real Madrid.” Meanwhile, yesterday marked the 55th anniversary of the Munich air disaster which claimed the lives of eight United players who were traveling back from a European Cup quarter-final match against Red Star Belgrade.
Sir Alex Ferguson, who was 16 at the time, paid tribute to the dead and said he continues to be inspired by the way then-manager Sir Matt Busby rebuilt the club following the tragedy.
“It was a fantastic group of young men who were destined to be great and that was the tragedy of it in how it was taken away from them,” the United boss said.
“How we rose to get over that is remarkable in terms of Sir Matt and (assistant manager) Jimmy Murphy and all the staff at the time.